This is always a tricky post to write...the one I write on June 11th. It's tricky because a big part of me thinks, "People are tired of hearing about my mom"...and yet, the other part of me desperately wants to acknowledge this day that we lost her.
It's been twelve years. Twelve. That's almost a teenager. My grieving is almost a teenager. It may sound weird to put it that way, but if you've experienced significant loss, you can probably relate. I'm always wondering where I should be on this grieving timeline...am I farther along than I should be...am I slower? At times I feel guilty that life has moved on and it's so great so much of the time, and other days, I wonder why am I missing her like this is year one?
I woke up this morning...fully aware of what day it is. That, I always seem to remember. I can still walk you through that day 12 years ago, hour by hour. Right about now, I would have been at my nanny job...putting the youngest down for his nap. In a couple hours, I would have been home with my sister, Heidi, talking when we'd get the call letting us know my mom was hours late in picking my grandma up for a doctor's appointment. We'd start calling her cell phone...she wouldn't answer...I'd say how I was so frustrated that she never answered her phone because in my gut, I felt like something was wrong. My mom was never that late...especially for something like a doctor's appointment. We were still wondering if we should be worried when my dad would walk in about an hour later telling us that there was a car accident and, "Mommy died". I'd fall to the floor crying a pretty gut-wrenching cry...not believing it...yet believing it...yet not. The room, along with my head was spinning. From there...it was a bit of a whirlwind...I remember some details...not a lot.
I laid in bed that evening as I could hear the voices of a full house...as everyone came. I never saw it, but I hear people had pies and casseroles in hand...'cause that's how we do it. It was so sweet of everyone, but I was trying to swallow this huge beast of a loss inside of me...I couldn't talk to people...let alone, eat. I said to my best friend, Kasey who sat in that dark room with me, "I'm terrified of falling asleep 'cause I canNOT imagine waking up to this being my life." I could not imagine anything good in my life from that point on.
So here I sit...twelve years later...and I am not the spokesperson for people who grieve. I'm not. I can only speak from my story. I used to hide on this day...I'd turn everything off and I'd just retreat...but I don't feel like hiding anymore. I have friends who have lost and their timeline is different than mine...the things that triggers their loss varies from me. But when they've lost and ask me, "Does it get better?" I can say with confidence from my experience that, yes, It Gets Better.
I could write a book on everything that's gone on between June 11, 2003 to June 11, 2015...it would be filled with some not-so-pretties. Trust me. I've had things I've never written about...it's not like pain and loss is a one and done kind of thing. There would be times when my family pulled together as a mighty unit...and times when I thought we may completely fall apart. I wouldn't have guessed that the mandatory Family Night dinners that were implemented by my sisters would be the bond that would pull us together. We'd laugh a lot and we'd feel a lot of frustration and pain at times. We've each played our roll in bringing healing and needing to be healed. There's been some hard work...and I mean work put into relationships and this process. I will never say it came easily.
What I'm trying to say is, it's been really really really hard at times. But even more than the hard, it's been really really reeeeeeaaaaally good. Sometimes I get nervous to talk about the good 'cause I don't want to minimize people's struggle...but I think it should be celebrated. It's such a good thing to laugh...like that belly laugh. I remember we laughed in the limo as a family as we drove from the grave sight back to the church. It's good to laugh. We talk about my mom ALL THE TIME...she's been at every family night with us...mostly because my dad always brings her up...and I love that. When hard things come up, we'll say, "I wonder what Mommy would say about that." ...yeah, we always called her mommy. Just a habit we never broke. We also call our dad, Daddy...it's just the way it is. ;) There are still moments...like this Easter...I'm not sure why, but I was feeling a little lonely. I couldn't go home because I had a trip coming up...and I knew that if my mom were alive, I would have been the one with her after church making Easter dinner for the family. We'd be talking and laughing and I let myself imagine what that would've been like...and it made me cry. But I don't mind that.
I've been given so many gifts of grace along the way that I couldn't see twelve years ago. So as I sit here, I just wanted to really give God a round of applause and just thank Him...because He saw what I couldn't. He knew it would be a long walk...and He knows it's not over because there is more I can't see. But if the past is any indication of my future...I'm just so glad He's got me, and I can say with all confident, it doesn't only get better, it gets great.